On Frida Kahlo

“Pinto flores, así no mueren.”

“I paint flowers so they will not die.” 

August 15th, Mexico City

She was ready for her exit from the tides of life, and yet her spirit cried, “¡Viva la vida!” A life replete with color, pain, strength, betrayal. The pictures of her reveal someone enigmatic and joyful, her dark eyes  — knowing, brilliant, arresting — startle with a deep settling. She loved the peoples and traditions of Mexico, of her proud home, with all her passion. She painted her own selves the way they battled and emerged from the blackest of depths. She didn’t give a damn about conformity, fame, or gringo ideals. She was not afraid to raise eyebrows, to be the strange bird of attention in her bright, beautiful dresses, her feathers of individuality. She was not afraid to speak through her physical pain, to paint against her angst and upsets, to choose the palette of her own experience, to live fully the life she wanted, the life she created with the clay of her suffering. Her words were remarkable, her tenacity an inspiration. When I see her work and read the poetry of her reflections, I feel close to the trembling core of what my own life may mean, what I want existence to reveal about ourselves, how history and our ties to the land remind us of our unique and common origins, how magical, powerful, and transformative our creations, thoughts, and dreams are. To live every day and every moment, to receive the sunrise with an awakened and astonished heart.

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